Refuge responds to Crown Prosecution Service quarterly VAWG statistics
Commenting on the Crown Prosecution Service quarterly VAWG statistics (Q4 2021-22) and Office for National Statistics crime statistics for England and Wales (year ending March 2022) Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO, said:
“The latest Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) data once again highlights how survivors are being let down by the systems which are supposed to protect them. Overall, referrals from police, charges and prosecutions for domestic abuse have all decreased in the last year compared to figures recorded in 2020/21. This is simply not good enough and sends a very worrying message to the many thousands of women Refuge supports.
“Survivors of domestic abuse and rape continue to face long wait times for charging decisions and court backlogs still plague the system, leaving many women in limbo as they seek justice. The decision to come forward about these experiences is already incredibly difficult for survivors, and trust in the system is already woefully low, so long delays will inevitably lead to further trauma and risks more survivors dropping out of the criminal justice system.
“Office for National Statistics crime figures also published today also reveal a record number of rape offences reported. While the CPS data shows an increase in the number of rape suspects charged and prosecuted, which may seem like a positive change, rape still has the lowest charging level of any crime. The figures also do not take into account the huge number of survivors who chose not to report this kind of crime to the police.
“We need system-wide reform to ensure that survivors are supported and believed when they make the brave choice to report the abuse they’ve experienced and the crimes committed against them. Without it, women will continue to lack confidence in the system and be less inclined from seeking the justice they deserve. “
Notes to editors
Refuge supports thousands of women and children on any given day, and runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which is the gateway to accessing specialist support across the country. More than one in four women in England and Wales experiences domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.
Please signpost to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for free, confidential specialist support. Or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk to fill in a webform and request a safe time to be contacted or to access live chat (live chat available 3pm-10pm, Monday to Friday). For support with tech abuse visit refugetechsafety.org.